My dear friend, Robert Brenner, recently conveyed a story from his 2018 visit to Rwanda about a woman named Grace. I cannot stop thinking about Grace, her story, and her remembering. You might recall the horrific events that rocked that small African country in 1994. In four short months, more than 800,000 people were murdered.
After touring her small, home-based seamstress shop, Grace asked Robert if she could tell her story, sharing “It helps in my healing. It reminds me Jesus is enough, and that I must continue to forgive.” On the horrible night the genocide began, Hutu neighbors, that had formerly been good friends, invaded Grace’s home with knives and clubs filled with nails, killing every member of her family and throwing them into a ditch. Grace lay, alive, covered by the bodies of her kin. After three days, a man passing by noticed movement. This man pulled Grace out of her living grave, nursed her back to health, and became her husband. Three years later, even though the intensity of the genocide had ended, rebel bans of Hutus would come in the night and attack innocent Tutsis. In one of those attacks, the husband that had saved Graces’s life was killed.
This is Grace’s story. This is the story that sustains and promotes her healing, reminding her Jesus is enough and to forgive. Grace’s story is hard. Her story is the kind nightmares breed. Her story is filled with the sort of memories people long to wipe from their slates. And yet, the way Grace remembers is life-giving and healing. Through Grace, her story, and her remembering, I am realizing that
How we frame our remembering determines what our remembering births.
Do we frame our remembering in bitterness or in thanksgiving? The pain of the event or the provision of God in the midst of the pain? The lack encountered or the ever-present love of God sustaining? By what robbed us or by what God redeemed? In fury or in forgiveness?
Grace chose to frame her story with the love God and the provision of God, and, in return, her story has birthed in her the power to forgive and heal and love and trust.
How do you frame your story? What does your remembering birth in you, empower you to do?